E36 s54 conversion.

Discussion in 'Member Rides' started by Matthead, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. 8 Jan 2016 at 2:43 PM #1
    Matthead

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    Hi, well after buying a 2.8 coupe and turning it from standard to this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've decided the time has come to do the engine transplant. The lil 2.8 has proved to be an awesome engine, 128k, totally standard bar an ecu upgrade, m50 manifold and an m3 oil cooler and has performed faultlessly for the last two years of trackdays. All I've done is the occasional oil change and just hammered it around snett and it's never once complained. It almost makes the engine swap a hard desicion as should it go wrong another 2.8 is cheap as chips but the s54 not so, but the thirst for more power and better lap times is to strong! So the plan is:
    S54 engine
    Engine management via a specialist components typhoon ecu and wiring harness
    Conversion from dbw to cable throttle
    Use the gearbox from the 2.8
    I have an almost new lightweight fly and paddle clutch from the m52 that I hope to reuse but still not 100% sure it will all fit
    Plus the million other things I will find out I need as the conversion progresses!!
    I've made a start and stripped the front of the car car down:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm just waiting on some ramps so I can get under it to remove the exhaust and propshaft then it's engine out time.
    I'm still searching for an s54 engine complete with the wiring loom to turn up, I've been let down 3 times now with time wasters so the search is still on.ill update this thread as work caries on if anyone is interested and if anyone who has done this has any solid advice I'd love to hear it!! That's all for now folks :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Jan 8, 2016
  2. 10 Jan 2016 at 11:41 PM #2
    SmokeyBear

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    Nice project, doing one myself for a road car. Can you tell me why you're going with cable throttle and dumping the bmw management?

    Can only imagine what an s54 will be like with 17s rather than 19s, e46 feels lively enough. Should make an excellent track wagon!
     
    SmokeyBear, Jan 10, 2016
  3. 11 Jan 2016 at 4:34 PM #3
    Matthead

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    I've decided to loose the original ecu and go aftermarket for a few reasons, the aftermarket ecu will let the engine run without a load of the sensors needed for a road application, secondary lambda sensors, sport button permenantely on, and quite a few others, in my case, being a track car most of this stuff is not needed. Specialist components also take the existing engine side wiring loom and alter it so it plugs straight into their ecu and connects straight to the x20 so it saves a load of hassle with the wiring. The ecu can also connect straight to a race dash, I'm using a race technology one which also saves on wiring and lastly the ecu is fully mappable. Once the engine is in and has a few trackdays under its belt I will start tuning, cams, air box etc so the ecu can be tuned as I go along.
    Hopefully it should be quite the animal once done, I think I will probably end up with 18's due to the lack of 17" slicks and the mass availability of 18" slicks. Just trying to work out out wether to wide arch it or not and all the wheel fitments that go with it all.
    How is your conversion going? Any major headaches to watch out for?
     
    Matthead, Jan 11, 2016
  4. 12 Jan 2016 at 11:55 AM #4
    SamR

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    Bit the bullet for an S54 then :thumbsup:

    Did you manage to sort the OSF brake issue ?
     
    SamR, Jan 12, 2016
  5. 12 Jan 2016 at 3:15 PM #5
    Matthead

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    Hey Sam :thumbsup: yup, I'm into it full on now, just need to find the time to get the old out and make a start on painting the bay ready for the new one!!

    I did fix the brake issue, I took an angle grinder to the end of the wishbone to give up a little more clearance. I'm not entirely sure why there was a problem. The wishbones are meyle hd items so I can only think the outer bush housing was slightly oversize causing the problem. All sorted now though!
     
    Matthead, Jan 12, 2016
  6. 12 Jan 2016 at 3:45 PM #6
    Rob043

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    Adding 75% of the 2.8's horsepower (ish), in a lightened car. Oooh that'll be fun!
     
    Rob043, Jan 12, 2016
  7. 12 Jan 2016 at 4:02 PM #7
    alexlex85

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    Hi Mate,
    You would be better off using the s54 DME.
    Personally Ive left Ergen motorsport to carry out the loom conversion and DME coding.They have done everything properly with retaining the obd port.
    They have their own wiring loom adapters which work with the s54 loom.
    Everything is relayed and fused up.Its been almost a year and haven't had any issues at all.
    Not really sure if you could use the m52 fly Ive bought them from eurocarparts for an s54. LUK brand.
    You will need to use an e36 m3 front subframe to support the engine with s50 engine mounts which bolt to the s54 block.
    S54 exhuast mani,centre section and welded to e36 s50 back box.Or custom.
    Pretty sure ive been told that you can bolt the rear to the center section however you will need to extend the centre section slightly to reach the exhuast mani.Good thing about it might be that its easier to weld extensions on the straight areas rather than in bent areas like towards the back box.
    S50 oil cooler to be used along with the s50 oil lines which connect to the s54 oil filter housing.
    S50 oil pressure or oil temp sensor goes to the s54 oil filter housing where currently has a threaded hole bolted in not being used.
    look on my journal for some info.
    Standard s54 air filter housing cannot be used.
    s54 fuel filter with regulator and s54 fuel lines from filter to engine.from filter backwards to the fuel tank can use the s50 lines which are plug and play.
    S50 fuel pump does the job
    If you plan to go oem, you might be able to use the Z3M air filter housing, other wise K&N which has the maf tube. Personaly I decided to go the alphaN/CSL route.Main reason to get an s54 swap in my opinion.
    Fire away any questions
    http://e36coupe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=202036&sid=8928d4daac98b5d3d24fcac3694d225a&start=435

    Its not hard at all
    Good luck :thumbsup:
     
    alexlex85, Jan 12, 2016
  8. 12 Jan 2016 at 4:58 PM #8
    Matthead

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    Rob043: that's the plan haha!!
    Alelex85, how bizarre, I happened to find your thread on e36 coupe this morning and was having a good read through it, lovely car mate! Great post to, thank you for all the info, I was not sure about the flywheel so that's good to know. One of the reasonings behind the typhoon ecu is that the company is only 20 mins up the road from me and offers a rolling road/tuning service too. I have looked at the ergen conversion and am very tempted by it but for the same money a remapable ecu seems like the best route. But after your comment I might have a rethink. Bear in mind this is track use only so I don't need half the stuff a road car would need. Thanks for the info mate :thumbsup:
     
    Matthead, Jan 12, 2016
  9. 13 Jan 2016 at 8:43 AM #9
    Kingoblack

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    Great looking car and all the best with the conversion!

    Hope to see you at Snetterton soon :)
     
    Kingoblack, Jan 13, 2016
  10. 15 Jan 2016 at 4:15 PM #10
    Matthead

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    Well I managed to get some of the more annoying jobs done today despite the cold and the snow that was on the ground!!
    I've removed the complete exhaust and disconnected the propshaft. I was under the impression that the prop could be separated just in front of the centre bearing but I couldn't get it to seperate so I decided to leave it on the car and just supported the prop where I disconnected it from the gearbox. The centre bearing and guibo we replaced a couple of months ago so no need to replace them anyway.
    I also removed the X brace and disconnected the clutch line so that's most of the work under the car done, I just need to unbolt the gearbox mount when the engine comes out. A quick pic of today's progress:

    [​IMG]

    Things I have learnt today,
    Snow is cold,
    Laying on a wet shingle driveway undoing stuff really hurts!!
    The exhaust is heavier than I thought, that won't be going back on!! A nice cat delete pipe will make its way under the car I think.
    That's all for now folks!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Jan 15, 2016
  11. 15 Jan 2016 at 8:10 PM #11
    evoGrant

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    Nice work pal.
    M3 back box is ridiculously heavy. Almost snapped my leg.
     
    evoGrant, Jan 15, 2016
  12. 16 Jan 2016 at 3:14 PM #12
    Matthead

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    Thanks evo, you are not wrong, lying on your side under a car on ramps makes it really heavy and awkward to lift/ move!!
    Anyhow, I managed to get a few hours on it this afternoon and disconnected the last of the wiring, removed the oil cooler and lines, disconnected the fuel lines and removed the power steering reservoir and lines, so I think it's ready to pull the engine out, hopefully I will get that done next week.
    @kingoblack, yeah, I hope to see you at snett at some point this year!!
     
    Matthead, Jan 16, 2016
  13. 20 Jan 2016 at 4:22 PM #13
    Matthead

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    Managed to get some more time on the car today. I've removed the engine and gearbox, took them out as one unit then split them apart once they were out and on the floor. It came out really easy, no problems at all so I was happy with that!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've also removed the last of the bits and pieces from the bay and gave it a good wash down ready to start prepping for painting. I'm also going to fit a purple tag rack and solid bush for the column whilst I'm in there and access is easy.
    I've managed to source a s54 engine and should hopefully be picking it up next week.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Jan 20, 2016
  14. 21 Jan 2016 at 4:45 PM #14
    Matthead

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    So today's task was to get the engine bay cleaned and primed ready for paint. I started by giving it a good wash down with hot water and degreaser to remove the worst of the grime, dried it off and keyed all the paintwork with scotchbrite pads and wet & dry paper until it was all sorted. Bear in mind I'm not looking for a showroom finish, this is a track car after all!!
    I then masked up the car and everything I didn't want painted and ended up with this:

    [​IMG]

    After giving it another good clean down with panel wipe and a tack cloth I laid down the first layer of grey primer:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This was followed by another two coats and then the white primer was put down over that:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just got to leave that to dry off and then give it a light wet and dry sand down and it's ready for a coat of alpine white.
    I'm pretty pleased with it so far considering I'm no spray painter but I guess I'll see how the finished article looks lol!! As long as it doesn't look awful when the bonnet is up I'll be happy!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Jan 21, 2016
  15. 21 Jan 2016 at 6:41 PM #15
    leccyt

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    Good graft mate this is going to be a weapon.
     
    leccyt, Jan 21, 2016
  16. 24 Jan 2016 at 5:39 PM #16
    bb1

    bb1 On the path

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    Hi Matt,

    Lovely car you have here.

    Alex is speaking sense here. I went the same route after a lot of research. Adem from Ergen is the man, get him to sort the ECU and Loom and you will have a trouble free conversion.
    Once fitted and running sweet, then take to Wayne from Chipwizards and he can map properly.

    Barry
     
  17. 25 Jan 2016 at 3:01 PM #17
    Matthead

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    Thanks guys, you are not wrong with the graft, engine bays are not nice places to spray, to many fiddly nooks and crannies and prepping is a total mare!!
    Hi Barry, lovely e36 you have there, I like that a lot. I've just had a good read through your build, very nicely done. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one that had issues with the AP brake kit. Mine did exactly the same thing when I fitted them, I thought it was because I had meyle hd arms fitted but it looks like you had the same problems. I attacked them with an angle grinder and removed a few mm's off them to sort it.
    You have me thinking about the ecu and associated now. It seems ergen are the go to guys for this. I liked the specialist components set up cos they remove all the gubbons I don't need, I can plug a race technology dash straight into it and the fact that I can have the ecu tuned as I add upgrades later, they are very close to where I live which saves emmense amounts of hassle travelling to a tuner.
    But saying all that, everyone recommends ergen for the kit and chip wizard for the tuning so I might have to think on this a bit more. My head is set on the specialist components stuff but taking advice from people who have been there and done it makes a lot of sense. Ultimately I'm looking for a reliable, relatively simple install. Hmmm!!!
    All advice and knowledge is welcome so keep it coming!!

    Anyway, another day and more time in the garage, I gave the primer a quick wet sand and laid down some top coat. The colour match is not perfect but I guess that's what you get for using halfords rattle cans, I keep reminding myself it's a track car not a show car but it does slightly annoy me haha!! It's has come out pretty good for a rattle can job in a less than ideal workspace with less than perfect weather temps so I'm happy with what I've achieved!! Hers a couple of pics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just gonna let that cure and then give it a couple of coats of clear and it's done. Hopefully I should be picking up the s54 this week and then it's all systems go!
    I still have a purple tag rack and solid coupler to go in which I'm hoping to get done this week.
    Stay tuned for more!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Jan 25, 2016
  18. 1 Feb 2016 at 2:27 PM #18
    Matthead

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    So I've managed to get some more work done on the car, I gave the engine bay a couple of coats of clear lacquer and left that to dry, once all that was done I removed all the masking to see how it turned out. Not to bad I must say, I pretty happy with it for a home spray job. It's a shame the colour match wasn't great, with hindsight I should have gone to a pro paint shop and had some rattle cans colour matched but hey, live and learn!!
    I have installed a solid steering coupler that I had purchased from rally prep which was relatively straight forward although removing the old rubber coupler took some doing as did removing the linkage from the car in the first place!!

    [​IMG]

    While I was in there I replaced the steering rack for a purple tag 067 rack.
    I had some problems with this as the rack came with the e46 tie rods attached that needed to be removed but were rusted solid and I couldn't seperate them for love nor money, I ended up removing the inner rods from the rack and swapping over the tie rods from my old rack. Other that that it wasn't to bad a job although I think I might be a splne or two out upon connecting it back together, I might adjust that later.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Feb 1, 2016
  19. 1 Feb 2016 at 2:43 PM #19
    Matthead

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    On Friday I took a trip out to meet up with fellow cutter Graham who had a s54 for me, what a great guy!! I got there to find the engine out and sitting on a pallet ready to put in my van and be on my way. Many thanks Graham, you sir are a legend!!! :thumbsup:
    I got it back home and left it in the garage as I worked out a plan of attack!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ideally I would have liked to have a fiddle with it out of the car but space and logistics means that's not really gonna work for me so hopefully tomorrow I will mate it with the gearbox and have it sitting in the bay. Once it's in there I can remove the loom and get that sent off for modifications and give the engine a good clean up and remove some of the bits I no longer need, viscous fan, ac pump etc.
    I had a bit of time today so fitted up the remote reservoirs for the brakes and clutch and ordered a custom hose for the clutch.

    [​IMG]

    As an aside, do any of you s54 guru's know where this line goes to:

    [​IMG]

    It comes off the air rail and I think on the e46 it runs along the bulkhead to the ecu/servo area. I think it's for the brake master servo but I'm not sure. Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Matthead, Feb 1, 2016
  20. 1 Feb 2016 at 2:45 PM #20
    PolarisCSL

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    It is vacuum line for brakes - bung it up as you have a pedal box
     
    PolarisCSL, Feb 1, 2016

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